If you missed this year's Broadband Building & Technology Show held in
November in Atlanta, you missed more than great weather in the Southeast. This
year's show offered building owners and facilities professionals two days of
some of the best available forecasting and in-depth analyses of the telecom
I was particularly impressed to no longer hear that tiring drivel of how amazing
and wonderful and glorious the world of telecommunications is
reaction to all of that was "I see your lips moving, but all I hear is
blah, blah, blah." Call me a cynic, but, personally, I was sick of the
Tony Little-style sales pitch we were getting a year ago about how we need to
jump on board now or be left in the dust - all fat and flabby.
Here we are, one year later, burnt, beaten, and a bit embarrassed - but much
wiser for having survived the battle of the Computer Age. What we learned is
abundantly clear as panelist after panelist and keynote speaker after keynote
speaker talked about the market as it really is, which is right where it should
My opinion is that we're not in a recession as much as we are back to where
we were before the Big Boom - before everyone wanted to get rich quick; before
we all started drinking over-priced cups of coffee just to feel like we fit
in; like we, too, were running with the Big Dogs.
A year ago, the topics of discussion where about how to increase your revenue
by offering tenants super-speed bandwidth. Today, we are talking about attracting
and retaining tenants by addressing their specific broadband needs.
Twelve months ago, we had the choice of an infinite number of service providers,
all promising to install their services within 30 days - who never showed up
or shut down their service with or without notice. Now, we hold a handful of
service providers accountable and ask for verification of installation time.
This time last year, we believed that the only way to achieve super-speed bandwidth
was with fiber-optic cable. The current market offers us a variety of scalable
options that respond to the needs of our building occupants.
What we learned from it all was that a sound business plan is still the foundation
for a successful business; that addressing tenant needs is just part of the
deal; that you can't afford to promise or deliver services to buildings and
tenants that can't afford to pay the bills; and that speed is best saved for
Internet access rather than in investment decisions. Granted, these were hard
and painful lessons to relearn, but we're better business people today for having
Clara M.W. Vangen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is technologies editor at Buildings magazine.